I wanted to start today’s article by giving some major props to the games first star, Jayson Megna.

Megna made headlines today because of his two-point effort, but he was just as impressive without the puck as he was with it on his stick.

Here’s a great chance for the Canes that starts off a weird bounce in the Penguins offensive zone.

There are two deep defensemen on this play for the Penguins, but the Canes are clearly coming with three red shirts on offense and a fourth if the defenseman hurries it up.

If you take a look at Jayson Megna’s posture here, he’s already dug in and is off to the races before this play even breaks out. He’s identified the danger and is going to come back to play a huge role in the defensive sequence.

As this play continues to develop, the Hurricanes are coming with speed and four strong into the offensive zone. Megna has already made himself a third defenseman in this case.

And take a look behind the play, the other two forwards havent’ even caught up yet. Megna was so far ahead of this play that he was able to give the Penguins three white shirts at his defensive blue line.

Megna follows his man straight to the front of the net. Niskanen steps up and makes a play past the blueline to allow the cavalry to catch up to the play.

As this play finishes, Megna is in front of his own net, bodying out the forward, and clearing space for Marc-Andre Fleury.

Is this kid wearing number 59 a defenseman or a forward? Tough to tell from this clip! Make no mistake about it, this is a great play for a young forward. There would have been a high probability of a good scoring chance had Megna not followed through on this play.

The Kunitz Goal

Chris Kunitz is a pretty smart guy, and I think this clip is going to show why. It’s not about the drive to the net for Kunitz here as much as it is how he started this play off.

The entire sequence begins with Chris Kunitz playing give-and-go with Brooks Orpik in the neutral zone. When this breakout happens, Orpik first goes to Kunitz, and then Kunitz goes back to Orpik. There’s a reason why:

Kunitz is covered here. Jordan Staal is shutting his immediate lane down. Crosby/Dupuis are not yet in a position to make a play. The Canes generally have this thing covered.

Only when Kunitz returns this puck to Orpik is when things begin to open up here. If Kunitz takes this outlet pass and runs with it, he has nowhere to go. The breakout almost just starts over.

Orpik launches the outlet pass back to Crosby, who makes an unbelievable move on Andrej Sekera at the blue line to gain entry into the zone.

The path that Pascal Dupuis takes here confuses Jordan Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Staal grabs Dupuis coming through the neutral zone. But with Sekera out to lunch against Crosby, the second defenseman for Carolina also takes Dupuis, thinking Staal is going to peel off onto Kunitz.

Chris Kunitz made one pass to Brooks Orpik to re-start this entire play and all hell has broken loose for Carolina.

I think it’s about this moment that Staal realizes how much hot water he is in. He cannot mark Kunitz, who is going full speed to the goal, and Dupuis has taken the other defenseman completely out of the play by driving to the goal.

From the aerial view:

Staal has taken a man already marked by a defenseman, Kunitz’ little pass to Orpik here completely confused everyone involved.

Stay tuned through the rest of the year as we continue to take a look at game tape for the Pittsburgh Penguins.